Redskins' kicker Forbath is a perfect 10 for 10

Redskins' kicker Forbath is a perfect 10 for 10

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) It will no doubt hurt when Washington Redskins kicker Kai Forbath finally misses a field goal.

It hurts when he makes them, too.

Forbath is one of those kickers who wears a smaller shoe on his kicking foot - a much smaller shoe. While his left foot takes his normal size of 10 1/2, he shoehorns his right foot into a size 7 1/2 to create a hard-as-possible surface for making contact with the ball.

Still, It's as painful as it looks.

``It's not something you'll keep on your foot very long,'' Forbath said. ``I don't do it because it feels good.''

Forbath learned the trick as a freshman at UCLA, and it's served him well. He won the Lou Groza Award as the nation's top kicker as a junior in 2009, and his first steady NFL work could hardly be going better: He's made all 10 field goal attempts since joining the Redskins last month.

``You're going to try and jinx him now?'' long snapper Nick Sundberg told a reporter Monday when asked about Forbath.

Success through the uprights can be a touchy subject with the Redskins, who are on their 19th kicker in 18 seasons and have by far the NFL's worst field goal percentage (73.7) since 1995. If Washington (5-6) is going to make a playoff push, there needs to be some degree of comfort that a drive that gets inside the 30 will almost always yield three points.

Forbath was the choice after Billy Cundiff missed five of 12 attempts to start the season. Forbath won an off-day tryout over retread veterans Olindo Mare and Josh Brown.

``I always take a look at those other couple kickers, and they've been cut for a reason. I'm not sure why,'' coach Mike Shanahan said. Forbath ``was a guy that nobody really even talked about. You watched him kick, and he won it legitimately against two other veterans that have been in the NFL for a long time. Usually when you handle pressure, it transfers over to game situations.''

Like most young kickers, Forbath needed to make stops in multiple NFL cities before finding a regular season job. He signed with the Dallas Cowboys in 2011 but hurt his quad during the lockout and ended up on the non-football injury list. This year he was in training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as essentially the token competition for Connor Barth.

The Redskins like Forbath because he doesn't sweat the small stuff. He's not rattled if Sundberg's snap or Sav Rocca's hold aren't spot-on every time.

``I have a couple of things that I'm thinking about when I'm kicking, and I can't let the other things distract that,'' said Forbath, who, like all NFL kickers, hits the ball soccer-style with the instep of his foot and not the tip. ``When it starts rippling down to, `Oh, no, I'm worried about the snap.' Then `I'm worried about the hold,' then that's when things go wrong.''

Sundberg said youth makes the 25-year-old Forbath less fussy.

``I don't think about anything, and I've talked to him about trying to do the same thing,'' Sundberg said. ``Don't listen to the crowd. Don't listen to anything. Don't listen to Sav. Just when you see the ball, go. And let your muscle memory take over and do what you know your body is capable of doing, and he's done an excellent job of that.''

Forbath's one miscue has been an extra point attempt that was blocked because he kicked it too low. He also is trying to master the art of the kickoff - he's been a field goal specialist for much of his kicking life. He actually changes footwear for kickoffs, wearing a full-cleated version of the very tight shoe instead of the one with the shaved cleats he uses for field goals.

Forbath admits his kickoffs still need work.

``It's just something you've got to get comfortable with, in a groove, and we're working towards that right now,'' he said.

But there's no doubt he's in a groove when it comes to the other part of his game. His latest big kick was a 48-yarder that helped stave off the Cowboys in the 38-31 win on Thanksgiving day.

``You have to feel confident every time you go out there,'' said Forbath, whose parents lived in Hawaii and named him after the Hawaiian word for ``ocean.'' ``If you start doubting a kick, that's when things tend to go wrong.''

Notes: LT Trent Williams played much of the Cowboys game with a deep thigh bruise in his left leg and did not practice Monday. ... The Redskins placed rookie LB Keenan Robinson on injured reserve and signed LB Roddrick Muckelroy. Robinson tore a pectoral muscle against the Cowboys and will have surgery this week. Muckelroy has played in 19 games with the Cincinnati Bengals. He missed all of last season with a ruptured Achilles.


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Here's a small example of Dwayne Haskins' leadership, as told by Matthew Berry

Here's a small example of Dwayne Haskins' leadership, as told by Matthew Berry

ESPN Fantasy Football expert Matthew Berry was at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere last weekend in Los Angeles, where he got the chance to interview the three Redskins rookies in attendance: Dwayne Haskins, Terry McLaurin, and Bryce Love. 

Berry, who was a guest of JP Finlay's on the Redskins Talk podcast on Thursday, has been a fan of the Burgundy and Gold since he was a kid, so he was eager to talk to three of the team's newest players and learn more about them.

It was during those interviews where Berry got a quick glimpse of a side of Haskins that now has Berry really excited.

"I thought what was really cool was... When I was interviewing McLaurin, Dwayne Haskins came in and interrupted the interview to give him some crap," he told Finlay. "It was really a wonderful moment to see. Obviously, they know each other very well from Ohio State, but just the fact that they felt comfortable enough and he wanted to come over and mess with him a little bit and have some fun, I was impressed with that."

Once Haskins left, Berry explained how he asked McLaurin about the interaction. Redskins fans will like McLaurin's answer.

"That's Dwayne, Dwayne is being a leader," McLaurin said, per Berry. 

Haskins did something similar to Love during Love's interview as well. Berry even caught up with Colts receiver Parris Campbell, who also played with the QB at Ohio State, to inquire about the 15th overall pick. 

"I asked him, 'Listen, I'm a diehard Redskins fan, what am I getting?'" Berry said. "He couldn't have been more effusive. 'You're not only getting a guy who puts the ball where you want it, but you're getting a leader. You're getting a guy who makes sure everyone in the huddle is included.'"

You can be skeptical of how much these little moments mean, and that's fair. Ultimately, how quickly Haskins picks up Jay Gruden's playbook and how accurate his arm turns out to be will factor more into his success in the NFL than being able to joke around a bit with some of his guys.

But you can also hope that these little moments are hints of a bigger personality and approach, a look into an athlete who can get a football team to buy into him. That's the side Berry is on.

"I thought that was really cool, and just showed somebody who's very comfortable in the leadership position and who's trying to be inclusive of everyone," he said. "It's early in the process, but I have yet to hear somebody on or off the record say something bad about Dwayne Haskins."


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WNBA Finals loss only more fuel for Elena Delle Donne, Mystics heading into 2019 season

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WNBA Finals loss only more fuel for Elena Delle Donne, Mystics heading into 2019 season

For Elena Delle Donne and the Mystics, last season's heartbreak in the WNBA Finals is only fuel for another potential postseason run in 2019. 

"That's something I don't think I'll ever let go," Washington's star forward told Chris Miller on the latest episode of the Wizards Talk podcast. "It's always tough when you get to that Finals and you can't finish it off. But I think it's something that can fuel you. You don't want to let it just bring you down and depress you and make it so you can't get over that hump."

"If you use it as fuel and motivation, it can help you get better. I think that's what we're all gonna do."

The Mystics reached their first WNBA Finals in franchise history in 2018 but ultimately lost to the Seattle Storm. Delle Donne, recently named in's GM survey as the favorite to win league MVP, is back for her third season in Washington and headlines a strong team that has the talent to compete for the title again.

Her status for Saturday's season opener against the Connecticut Sun is up in the air due to a left knee injury, but Delle Donne believes the Mystics will have another great season given the continuity on the roster from last season and the return of All-Star forward Emma Meesseman. 

"We feel great. We've got our core back," said Delle Donne. "And to be able to add a superstar like Emma to that roster is pretty scary. Especially with her style of play and the way that our team started playing last season, where it was such positionless basketball. Spreading the floor, just spreading it, making it easy for one another to attack, get some threes. She's just gonna add so much to that."

NBC Sports Washington will be broadcasting 10 Mystics home games during the 2019 WNBA season. For the full regular season schedule, click here.